...the musical sounds of the pounding feet of my Runners' Edge running group that is.
I started running on my own several years ago but quickly decided that I would benefit from joining a running group and learning how to run properly. I joined Runners' Edge and spent the next few years getting stronger, getting faster, learning how to run up hills...and making great friends.
I haven't run with my running friends in a while simply because the times they run don't work well with my schedule - work, diabetes and eating schedules that is. But I do so enjoy the moments when I'm able to meet up with my running peeps. Especially when there is a race involved.
A week and a bit ago, I ran my half marathon and proudly sported my Runners' Edge vest. I was cheered at almost every corner by someone from the group.
Yesterday, it was Doug's turn to race, at the Hamilton Road to Hope half marathon. I grabbed my camera and spent a few hours chasing him and a bunch of my Runners' Edge friends around the course.
The gang minutes before the start. It helps that they wear such easy to spot clothing. As that they pose in clusters based on their outfits.
This is at the 5k mark, right before they turn on to the highway and run down the escarpment. It's also right after Doug high-fived a big shark.
A little over an hour later, here he is mere seconds from the finish line. Going so fast he looks like he's flying. Looking no worse for wear.
Every runner has a story as to why they were running that day. Most stories I will never know. A few I have the honour of reading a chapter or two.
My friend Judy, who was running for herself and in the memory of her father.
My friend Prudence (on the left) who was about to run her first marathon. She rocked it by the way. And my friend Melanie (on the right) who has improved as a runner more than anyone else I know.
My friend Shane, who has been, literally and figuratively, transformed by running.
My friend Vince, who set himself yet another lofty goal for this race and met it.
And Doug, who ran the Road to Hope marathon two years ago with one goal: to quality for a guaranteed entry to New York.
He beat the cutoff time by a mile and, exactly one year later, we were in New York for the 2012 marathon that never was.
Now he was back in Hamilton again - on the very same day that 48,000 runners were toeing the line in New York for the 2013 comeback. How bittersweet the first weekend in November has turned out to be.
So many stories.
So many moments.
So many reasons to be a runner.
So many reasons to document their journeys.